Imaginal flooding and exposure to real phobic situations: changes during treatment

D W Johnston, M Lancashire, A M Mathews, M Munby, P M Shaw, M G Gelder

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17 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the results of measures taken during treatment in the study of imaginal flooding and exposure to real phobic situations previously described by Mathews, Johnston, Lancashire, Munby, Shaw and Gelder (1976). On weekly measures of change of similar reduction in phobic behaviour in all treatments was found, confirming the previous findings. Differences in therapist effectiveness were also confirmed. On measures of the immediate effects of treatment, exposure to the phobic situation had consistent positive effects, imaginal flooding had little or no detectable effect. It is proposed that the treatments studied differ in their immediate effects on phobic behaviour but also have the common effect of facilitating counterphobic behaviour outside the treatment situation, and that this is the main agent of therapeutic change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-7
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 1976


  • Anxiety
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Desensitization, Psychologic
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Imagination
  • Implosive Therapy
  • Phobic Disorders
  • Practice (Psychology)
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Prognosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Time Factors


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